The Forbidden Door by Dean Koontz – Book Review

The Forbidden Door by Dean Koontz – Book Cover

Dean Koontz and Jane Hawk Are Starting to Tire

In The Forbidden Door the fourth book in the series, Jane Hawk continues her battle against a conspiracy at the highest levels of American political and economic life. Our favorite vigilante starts from the unenviable position of being the USA’s number one public enemy. And she’s pretty exhausted.

The same can be said for the initial chapters of Dean Koontz’s book: the writing is undeniably sloppy. The text is dripping with pathos from the very first scene, overflowing with exaggerated positive descriptions of the protagonists.

Then, interestingly, the situation suddenly normalizes, and these anomalies mostly disappear. How did that happen? Who’s ever heard of a book’s beginning being thrown together? Whatever.

Dean Koontz Is Still Aiming for the Nobel Prize in Literature

However, the pompous and grandiose metaphors persist throughout The Forbidden Door. After the vivid examples in the previous book (see The Crooked Staircase), I have no desire to strain myself again, but it’s something like this: if a SINGLE miserable fly buzzes over the protagonist’s head, in The Forbidden Door, it’s described as if TWO roaring bomber squadrons do this with deafening sound explosions, etc.; Dean Koontz simply magnifies everyday things to absurdity. Moreover, this happens roughly on every page, constantly jolting you out of the plot, making you stop and marvel at how outrageously ridiculous it is.

The Forbidden Door is a Fast-Paced and Exciting Thriller

Nonetheless, the fundamentals of Koontz’s book remain unchanged. It’s a fast-paced and exciting thriller. And the author adds a twist to the self-repetitive structure of previous books (track-interrogate-liquidate), as Jane now wants to save her son before he falls into the clutches of the conspirators.

Cornell Jaspersen, in the role of the eccentric multimillionaire and substitute nanny, is a real hit, (please and thank you), and his duo with Travis, perhaps because of its ordinariness, stands out so much from the rest of the book that it becomes the most appealing part of the story.

Nihilism is just a bad joke

The bad guys, of course, are very bad. All of them. They are vile, malicious, and on top of that, filthy sex-crazed beasts. Moreover, you get literally exhaustive information about Gottfrey’s radical nihilism. This is about as recurring an element as the stupid metaphors. And when he repeatedly slips up about his bizarre worldview in front of others, it borders on bad joke territory.

Dubose and Jergen, the duo we met (and grew to hate) in the previous book, remain entertaining in their peculiar way. And while you read their conversations that verge on the absurd, you can also ponder whether Jergen will blow his self-righteous partner’s head off in the next book or if he will do it in this one.

The Characters Bite the Dust

Just like the twins in the previous book, there are parallel and dead-end plotlines here as well. Moreover, there are well-developed characters that the author discards halfway through in a seemingly entirely purposeless manner. It’s like preparing a mouth-watering Sunday dinner, then after finishing it, you throw the whole thing out the window. Then you have to start cooking all over again. WTF? What on earth is Dean Koontz doing?

In return, as a thriller, the book works very well. The lengthy, twisty action scenes are thoroughly developed. Not to mention the wild mini-apocalypse at the end of The Forbidden Door, which almost turns into horror. Jane, you know well, is unstoppable, but she doesn’t have it easy at all.

Rating: 7.7/10

The Forbidden Door (Jane Hawk, #4) by Dean Koontz
467 pages, Hardcover
Published in 2018 by Bantam

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